In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Joy Rocine Watts Allen, 88

Joy Rocine Watts Allen, 1932-2021
IMB Photo

Joy Rocine Watts Allen, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Zambia, died Oct. 16, 2021, in Mesquite, Texas. She was 88.

Allen was born Dec. 22, 1932, in Santa Anna, Texas, to the late Frank Washington and Mae Etta Watts. After graduating from Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, she received the
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, Texas. While in college, Joy was a summer missionary in California, and after graduation, she taught in elementary schools in Arizona, Indiana and Texas.

Allen wrote when seeking missionary appointment that she was involved in many church activities, including missions organizations for girls and young women sponsored by Woman’s Missionary Union. When she was 13, she went with her mission group to a meeting where a missionary to Nigeria spoke. When a friend who felt called to missions urged Joy to go forward with her, Allen refused. She felt no call. But the subject stayed on her heart. She told God she would surrender to missions if the pastor gave an invitation to missions service, something she’d never heard him do.  Within weeks, the pastor gave that invitation and she responded.

In the summer of 1958, Joy met Fred Allen at a Baptist camp, where both were sponsors for the youth group from their churches. They were married that December.

The couple served in churches in Texas and Colorado before the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them missionaries to the African nation of Zambia in 1970. According to her family, Joy worked with the Zambian women in ministry and taught religious knowledge at a local boys’ secondary school. She taught sewing and quilting to the Zambian women, developing friendships and the opportunity to share with them Jesus’ love. She hosted children’s Bible study groups at their home and served as the director of the Bible Way Correspondence School, which used the book “Who Is Jesus?” written by a fellow missionary. Joy was the first woman elected chairperson of the Zambia Baptist Mission.

When Fred and Joy retired in 1998 after serving 26 years, they continued their love of music and missions by volunteering in a variety of programs with the churches they attended in Temple and Benbrook, Texas.

Allen was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Fred, and by her son, Gary. She is survived by her children, Randy Allen (Dana) of Plano, Texas, Valerie Grossman (Gregg) of Mesquite, Texas, and Bruce Allen (Laura) of San Antonio, Texas; daughter-in-law, Barbara Allen of Fort Worth; sister, Dorothy Williamson of Conroe, Texas; brother, Frank Watts of Frisco, Texas; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Nov. 13, 2021, at First Baptist Church, Benbrook, with burial in Greenwood Memorial Park, Fort Worth.

Read an obituary here.